Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Monday announced Indian Railway’s plan to connect Kathmandu with New Delhi and the port city of Kolkata through direct rail links.
He is in Kathmandu to address the Nepal Infrastructure Summit, 2017 and said the construction could begin as soon as Nepal signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for engineering surveys.
Prabhu said India was ready to share its drone technology and experience with Nepal for supervising the project.
The Rail minister said, “We need to build the railway tracks connecting Kathmandu with Delhi and Kolkata as soon as possible. If we could build these two railway tracks soon it would increase Nepal’s connectivity with India.”
Experts said this move is a part of India’s plan to counter China’s influence in Nepal and is aimed at rendering Beijing’s plan to expand its Tibetan rail networks towards Lumbini via Kathmandu.
Prabhu said infrastructure is necessary for higher economic growth. He encouraged the Nepal government and the private sectors to invest in infrastructural development.
He held separate meetings with Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Civil Aviation, Culture and Tourism Minister Jiwan Bahadur Shahi, Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Ramesh Lekhak and Energy Minister Janardan Sharma.
Prabhu also met Nepalese business leaders, industry leaders and political leaders and discussed a wide range of infrastructure development issues.
The connectivity between Kathmandu and Indian cities, New Delhi and Kolkata will improve the connectivity, making the two countries trade and movement easier.